For fleet managers, managing shipping crew changes in different countries is an elaborate process even in the best of times, and now is definitely not the best of times. Greywing, a Y Combinator-backed platform for automating maritime operations, today launched a new solution that it describes as an industry first. Called Crew Change, it is used to help shipping companies manage COVID-19 testing, quarantine, and other regulations for their crew members.
Crew Change is based on data from S5 Agency World, a global port agency, to keep abreast of ever-changing quarantine, testing and vaccination requirements. Greywing Co-Founder and CEO Nick Clarke says Crew Change can save fleet managers millions of dollars by streamlining crew changes, finding the most cost-effective flights to transport crew, plan routes (or change routes). if necessary) and reducing delays, they have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the supply chain.
Greywing’s other solutions help fleet operators manage important tasks, such as assessing shipping lanes for piracy risks and transporting crews to ships. Clarke told TechCrunch in an email that the company was originally created to help the maritime industry mitigate risks in the Gulf of Guinea and off the coast of Somalia, which have high piracy rates, by delivering rapid intelligence on those shipping routes.
“We found that by going beyond this, we could provide intelligence on where their crew could disembark to solve what was most important to seafarers: returning home to their families,” he said.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Greywing began receiving requests from customers who urgently needed help managing crew changes. “They had personnel trapped in boats that they couldn’t get on and off all over the world. My co-founder Hrishi [Olickel] and I looked at the problem and as I saw the increasing complexity of global locks, I realized that it was a problem that was here to stay. “
Crew managers must be aware of changes in immigration restrictions in hundreds of countries and thousands of ports around the world, Clarke added. To further complicate matters, many crews include members of different nationalities, who are often subject to different restrictions.
Much of the crew change process is analog. For example, a manager of a ship chartered to a third party can only find out his next destination by emailing the captain of the ship. Crew changes are often planned using spreadsheets and flight reservations are made by email or phone.
“Even before the pandemic, crew change management was a classic problem that has always been difficult to handle, but with a few more levels of consideration added to that random data, it became totally impractical for a team of humans to understand. Clarke said.
Greywing was able to create a crew change by making small changes to its piracy risk mitigation methodology, and it is now integrated into CRY4, Greywing’s risk reporting solution.
The company worked with S5 Agency World because “it is regarded as one of the world’s leading port agencies serving port offices around the world,” Clarke said. “What that means is that your data can give us a clear picture of what is happening on land so that shipping owners can better predict and manage what is happening at sea.” Crew Change also uses data from 30 other public and private data APIs and plans to add another 20 data sources.
Thanks to its wide range of data sources, Clarke said Crew Change can update information on visa, quarantine and testing requirements in as little as 15 minutes (or a day for more complex data).